katherine behar
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CONTACT & RESUME

Katherine Behar
Fine & Performing Arts Department
Baruch College, Box B7/23
55 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010

kb [AT] katherinebehar [DOT] com

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ARTIST STATEMENT

Matter Over Mind

In an age of ubiquitous computing, saying we are immersed in digital media has become a cliché. But what does it mean to share our world with advanced technologies? How can we best coexist with the inanimate world? Lay users typically leave these questions to specialists, but in my case they provide the subject for my work. With art, I try to impart a perverse counterpoint to prevailing mores about human-machine companionship.

Most researchers approach this problem by striving to engineer machines that might be perceived as being similar to the humans who use them. In the field of Human Computer Interaction, this motive drives everything from the design of intuitive interfaces to the development of artificially intelligent systems. I share the impulse to highlight commonalities between biological and technological forms of being. But I believe that computer science is dominated by hubristic design principles and that most research aims at an intellectualized version of anthropomorphism that winds up privileging all of the wrong human qualities.

Artificial Intelligence enthusiasts are eager to co-opt obdurate mechanical parts into the sapient realm. Interface designers are bent on sublimating if not erasing our sites of contact with machines to favor anticipatory, subconscious cybernetics. Complex systems engineers seek to program unpredictable, "lifelike," emergent behavior with simple lines of code. Each in their own way, these endeavors would create machines in the image of a human that amounts to a brain in a vat.

As an artist, not a scientist, I approach the problem of human-machine compatibility with reversed priorities: I am concerned with meeting my potential silicon siblings halfway. To that end, I try to show how human beings might become more inert, more materially fungible with other entities in the physical world. Being stuff is a trait common to biological and technological entities. Moreover, being stuff shows how humans are machinic: we are organized matter that staves off entropy and functions causally.

We need systems that remind us of our fallibility and of our own physical presence in the social, technosocial, eco-, and political systems we engage. My performances assert baseness and materiality as a common denominator shared by inorganic and organic machines. Placing matter over mind, I try to portray the condition of living sensuously in digital media and to promote camaraderie with the physical armatures that uphold bits and bytes.

BIOGRAPHY - SHORT (50 WORDS)

Katherine Behar's videos, performances, interactive installations, and writings explore gender and labor in contemporary digital culture. Her work has been presented at festivals, galleries, museums, and performance spaces throughout North America and Europe. She is based in Brooklyn and is associate professor of new media arts at Baruch College, CUNY.

BIOGRAPHY - MEDIUM (100 WORDS)

Katherine Behar is an interdisciplinary artist whose works exploring gender and labor in digital culture have appeared throughout North America and Europe. The Pera Museum in Istanbul presented her 2016 survey exhibition and catalog, Katherine Behar: Data's Entry | Veri Girişi. In 2014, her solo exhibition and catalog, Katherine Behar: E-Waste, premiered at the University of Kentucky before traveling to Boston Cyberarts Gallery. Behar is the editor of Object-Oriented Feminism, coeditor of And Another Thing: Nonanthropocentrism and Art, and author of Bigger than You: Big Data and Obesity. She is associate professor of new media arts at Baruch College, CUNY.

BIOGRAPHY - MEDIUM/LONG (200 WORDS)

Katherine Behar explores issues of gender and labor in contemporary digital culture. Her work has been presented at festivals, galleries, and performance spaces throughout North America and Europe. Her survey exhibition and catalog, Katherine Behar: Data's Entry | Veri Girişi, was presented at the Pera Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2016. A previous solo exhibition and catalog, Katherine Behar: E-Waste, premiered at the University of Kentucky in 2014 and traveled to Boston Cyberarts Gallery. Since 2005 she has collaborated with Marianne M. Kim in the performance art duo Disorientalism. Behar is the editor of Object-Oriented Feminism, published by University of Minnesota Press in 2016. Her publications And Another Thing: Nonanthropocentrism and Art, coedited with Emmy Mikelson, and Bigger than You: Big Data and Obesity were published by punctum books the same year. Fellowship and grant honors include The MacDowell Colony, Art Journal, Rubin Museum of Art, Franklin Furnace Fund, and others. Behar holds an MFA in combined media from Hunter College, an MA in media ecology from New York University, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is based in New York and is associate professor of new media arts at Baruch College, CUNY.

BIOGRAPHY - LONG/ACADEMIC (645 WORDS)

Katherine Behar is an interdisciplinary new media and performance artist and is associate professor of new media arts at Baruch College, CUNY. Her artwork spans interactive installation, performance art, public art, and video art to explore issues of gender and labor in contemporary digital culture. She is known for projects that mix low and high technologies to create hybrid forms that are by turns humorous and sensuous.

Behar's survey exhibition and catalog, Katherine Behar: Data's Entry | Veri Girişi, was presented in 2016 at the Pera Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. A previous solo exhibition and catalog, Katherine Behar: E-Waste, premiered at the University of Kentucky in 2014 and traveled to Boston Cyberarts Gallery. Her work has been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions at international venues including UNOACTU in Dresden (DE), the Mediations Biennale in Poznan (PL), Moscow Biennial Special Projects (RU), De Balie Centre for Culture and Politics in Amsterdam (NL), Digital Live Art Festival in Leeds (UK), MoKS in Mooste (EE), Galata Perform in Istanbul (TR), The National Museum of Art in Cluj-Napoca (RO), the Centre for Art Tapes in Halifax and FOFA Gallery in Montreal (CA), and The Swiss Institute in Rome (IT). Nationally, Behar has exhibited widely, at New York venues including Judson Memorial Church, Radiator Gallery, Lesley Heller Workspace, Peter Fingesten Gallery, CANADA, The Big Screen Project, The Wassaic Project, The Hogar Collection, Novella Gallery, Socrates Sculpture Park, Art Assets, Galapagos, Monkey Town, Conflux, and the D.U.M.B.O. Arts Festival; at Miami venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, the de la Cruz Collection, Dorsch Gallery, The Girls Club Collection, O Cinema and the YoungArts Foundation Studio Space; at Chicago venues including the Chicago Cultural Center, Defibrillator Gallery, Versionfest, Glass Curtain Gallery, Alogon Gallery, Tough Gallery, and Betty Rymer Gallery; and across the US at venues including the Feldman Gallery + Project Space, Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Maryland Art Place, The Alice, DiverseWorks, ArtSpace West, Garage Door and Tahoe Gallery, The Brunswick Window, Emily Davis Gallery, RE:View Contemporary, the Grand Rapids Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, and the Cleveland Performance Art Festival+Archives, among others. Behar's collaborative projects include Disorientalism, a multimedia performance collaboration with Marianne M. Kim (2005-present) and Resynplement an experimental art and technology team with Ben Chang and Silvia Ruzanka (2009-2013).

Behar writes and lectures widely on object-oriented feminism, technologized labor, cyborgian ethics, feminist media critique, and decelerationist aesthetics. She is the editor of Object-Oriented Feminism (University of Minnesota Press), the coeditor with Emmy Mikelson of And Another Thing: Nonanthropocentrism and Art (punctum books), and the author of Bigger than You: Big Data and Obesity (punctum books). Additional writing has been published in books including After the "Speculative Turn": Realism, Philosophy, and Feminism and Imperceptibly and Slowly Opening; in journals including Lateral, Media-N, Parsons Journal for Information Mapping, Visual Communication Quarterly, EXTENSIONS: The Online Journal for Embodied Technology; and in conference proceedings for Digital Arts and Culture, SPIE, and Cyberworlds.

Behar is the recipient of fellowships from The MacDowell Colony (2013), Art Journal (2010-2013) and the Rubin Museum of Art (2011). From 1999-2003, she was a founding artist and organizer at The Spareroom, a time arts cooperative in Chicago. Her artwork has been supported by art grants and awards from the U.S. Consulate General in Leipzig, the Franklin Furnace Fund, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Cleveland Performance Art Festival. Additionally, she has received research funding and academic grants from Arizona State University, PSC-CUNY, Baruch College, New York University, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as a sub award from the National Science Foundation. Behar holds an MFA in Combined Media from the Department of Art at Hunter College, an MA in Media Ecology from the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, and a BFA in Studio Art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.